In January of 2013 I started cross-fitting at NOVA Strength and Conditioning. I documented some of the things I learned those first few weeks in a post entitled, A Fat Girl’s Confession on Starting CrossFit. But despite the popularity of that post and my frequent sharing of CrossFit photos on Instagram and Facebook, I haven’t written much about my experience. It’s time to share again.
CrossFit is individualized.
I worry that what I mean by I want to be strong might intimidate some people from trying the sport. So I want to take a moment to be very clear here, your goals and personalization with CrossFit are just that - yours. You goal can be to lean out, your goal can be to gain stamina, your goal could be to meet and hang with like-minded paleo people, or any other variety of things.
For me, from the day I could leg-press as much as the boys in high school gym class, I’ve wanted to be strong, but never had the courage to actually put myself out there and try. Please do not interpret this post to be the results of what will happen to you if you begin to CrossFit, because this is what I want.
I’ve come to a pretty enlightening realization.
It wasn’t until the last couple weeks that getting strong actually started to be something I thought about taking more seriously. Specifically, I was complaining to Matt that after training for a 5K I wasn’t getting any faster and that I would likely never run a mile under 10 minutes yet my buddy Monica completed a triathlon and wrote about it like it was NBD. And my dear, awesome, insightful husband I’m so lucky to have on my side said, “Stacy, some people are built to go fast. Some people are built to go far. And some people are built to pick those other people up.”
And for some reason, it finally clicked. All those times I’d heard about how quickly my squat was improving, all the times I’d heard about the good mobility and flexibility I have, all the times I’d heard how strong I was or well I was doing with lifting finally clicked. I’m likely never going to be a great sprinter, but I can often make-up that time in WODs when we’re picking up heavy things and putting them back down – which I love to do and often perform the women’s prescribed weight with relative ease.
Matt once said to me that if we could just get ahold of our bigger girls at an early age and teach them not that they are fat and ugly, but instead that they are strong and strong is beautiful, too, that the world would be a better, happier place. Instead, we fill them with self-loathing and never let them accept that they were not born to be bikini models. They were born to be something much more impressive.
Here’s the thing: I want to be strong.
I have always known that I’ll never be an “elite athlete” or rank in the CrossFit Games Open. And that’s absolutely fine because it’s not something I really aim to do, either. But as a freakishly competitive person, I do want to be good at something. Not just that, I want to be better than other people at something. I may have finally found that.
Lucky for me, my CrossFit box actually originated as a strength & conditioning gym with a focus on Olympic Lifting. Today they remain a S&C gym that also hosts Strongman training as well as lifting. I love that we incorporate these strength-based activities into our CrossFit movements too.
After flipping tires one evening, I had that same feeling I had in high school, where I had accomplished something that made me not only proud of myself, but also gave me a skip to my step because I’d done something the same as the men in class. Only, instead of avoiding the weight lifting room like I did in high school for fear of embarrassment, I actually did something about it.
I started Strong(wo)man.
Yesterday was my first official session doing some “Strongman” activities. Yes, I mean that strongman. I lifted heavy things, I put heavy things down. Sometimes I did a squat while holding heavy things. And after 2 hours I was sweaty, feeling myself getting stronger, and only half-way done. Lifting heavy things requires your body to rest in between so that your muscles can do it again without fatiguing; it takes quite a bit of time.
Because I am constantly over-committing myself, I left the training early for the boys and I to go pick peaches and berries at a farm in the afternoon. And on that hour long car ride to the farm, I was thinking about how I wanted to try to find time in my life to train more. Do more. Lift heavier. Be better. Get stronger.
A lightbulb went off in my head and I’m sharing that with you all before I share it with anyone else (except Matt, who can pretty much read my mind at this point).
Yesterday I started Training
Tracking my personal records and tracking against weight lifting standards for my weight drives me to want to improve, I hadn’t really had this strong motivation when I was just CrossFitting – since (understandably) that is mostly about getting better against your own personal standards overall. CrossFit is the sport of overall physical fitness and I have no intentions of stopping, since it only aids in any other training I will do.
However, I am going to try to add 1-2 days/week to my current routine for Strong(wo)man training. I’m going to say it out loud and then it’s going to be real and there won’t be anything I can do about it…
I want to compete.
I want to be strong enough to hold my own in a competition of some kind. Because I haven’t even discussed this with my coaches I don’t even know what kind of competitions there are… but my new goal is to compete for something strength-based in 2014. And to that end, I’m going to try to focus on getting more lean. I want to get under 200lbs so that I can have a better chance against competitors.
Now, before you say, “But Stacy you’ve been preaching that health is more important than weight loss!” let me say YES, IT IS. Therefore, I will NOT be dieting. But, remember this post where I said I knew exactly what I needed to do to lose weight but couldn’t because I was too preoccupied with this blog, book writing and all the other stress factors in my life?
Guess what? It’s time to focus on me. And therefore, I’m going to get a whole lot less preoccupied with this pretty quickly. I’m not going to quit running PaleoParents entirely, but it’s going to have to go on auto-pilot for a while. I want to spend more time with my kids, I want to get caught up on important things like documenting baby pictures in the family records and I want to train.
Here’s my plan to get into competition shape for 2014
- Quit treats. A sugar-detox is way over-due… those sweets sneak into your life quickly and that has been the case for us! Matt and I both are committing to no longer eating paleo(ish) treats or drinking alcohol. Fresh fruit is in season, there’s just no reason not to enjoy it fresh without having to bake it into a cookie.
- Ensure I’m getting my supplements and super foods (bone broth and organ meats) each and every day. I know for a fact that my body LOVES these foods, and if I want to gain muscle and lose fat this will be the easiest way to train my hormones and build that healthy body I want. And I have to focus and remember to take my gallbladder supplements so that I am able to actually absorb the nutrients – which helps me not crave food I’m not hungry for. With Celiac, this has always been a problem for me and a big contributing factor to my obesity pre-paleo.
- Eat when I’m hungry. This is driven by cravings (above) and by emotions. With stress I emotionally eat, so part of this effort is to de-stress. I will find ways to comfort myself (snuggling the boys, doing yoga, taking a nap, etc.) rather than finding food. Before each bite I will ask myself, “Am I hungry for this, or does it just taste good?”
- Sleep. Wow, this is a biggie for me. I’m often asked, “How do you have time for all the stuff you do?!” and the answer is… I only sleep about 6 hours a night. And being that I KNOW how detrimental this is to health I’m committing to getting at least 8 hours of sleep a day. This means I have to be in bed by 11pm, which is usually when I start blogging. So, you can see how that will affect what you see here on the site…
- Continue to CrossFit Mon/Wed/Sat and add in Strong(wo)man training on Friday and/or Sundays. I’m going to try to also train for the 5k I signed up for in the fall (more info on that coming soon) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but if my body is tired and needs to recover I’m not going to worry about that.
I have no idea how long this plan is for. I have a feeling I’ll be very strict for about a month in order to develop new habits, and then hopefully incorporate it back into a healthy lifestyle that will help me lose weight. If, after doing this for a month, I’m not leaning out I will be seeing a specialist to see what I might need to do differently because after eating so cleanly for so long I should be able to lose fat with just the above. It’s my strong belief that calorie counting and carbohydrate restriction isn’t necessary if the body’s hormones are regulated – which they should if I do the above.
So, please, support me on this mission: keep in touch with us on social media where I’ll stay active and understand that site posts are going to be drastically cut back… we’re just working on practicing what we preach ♥